Alejandro Valverde has taken his first win in 20 months at the GP Miguel Indurain, also Movistar’s first of the season.
The 40-year-old rolled back the years at the recent Volta a Catalunya, finishing fourth overall behind the Ineos-filled podium, and now takes his first victory since 2019, finishing six seconds ahead of Alexey Lutsenko in second place, his Astana team-mate Luis Léon Sánchez third.
This was Valverde’s third win at the Spanish one-day race, and 131st in his career, previously crossing the line first in 2014 and 2018, his last win coming on stage seven of the 2019 Vuelta a España.
The victory will provide welcome respite for Movistar, who before today hadn’t won in 2021, and only took two wins in 2020 courtesy of Marc Soler at Pollença – Andratx and stage two of the Vuelta.
“This victory gives me joy and confidence,” Valverde said, having attacked near the summit of the final climb in the closing kilometres and staying away on the descent to the finish.
“Hopefully we can assert ourselves again,” he continues in the interview afterwards. “The legs are good and we have a great team.”
Valverde dedicated his victory to Gary Baños, the Movistar support staff member who died in a mountain accident at the beginning of the year: “Wherever he is, I am sure he has received this victory with great affection,” Valverde said.
Valverde will next line up at the Tour of the Basque Country, before heading to the Ardennes for the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne (which he has won five times) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (which he has won four times).
For the moment, the only other race pencilled in on his schedule is the Vuelta a España in August, and with his contract running out at the end of the year it could be Valverde’s final Grand Tour should he choose to retire at the end of the season.